"Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" is in its final week at the Met's Costume Institute, and despite weekend hours extended to midnight, Disneyworld-level lines are stretching for two hours and longer. For a time, the museum was even opening its doors on Mondays (when it's normally closed) for $50 admission, but now, the only way to bypass the marathon lines is with a museum membership.
Starting at $100, the membership is proving to be worth it for patrons confronted with the sweaty queues. Nancy Chilton, senior press officer and advisor to the Costume Institute told us that "membership has increased measurably over last year's numbers" in the wake of the McQueen exhibit's unprecedented popularity. How measurably? "Since opening day of the McQueen exhibit on May 4, more than 20,000 members have joined on-site, compared with about 9,000 last year" at the same time, said Chilton.
"Savage Beauty" has broken attendance records with more than 582,000 visitors since its May 4 opening, surpassing the 576,000 who'd seen "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" in 2008. What it will do for membership sales may just result in longer-term benefits for the museum.